I thought that I would feel emotional about leaving the studio in Enköping … but I didn’t, I guess that means that it was the right thing to do … and the right time to do it.

As I gathered together my past works some from as early as 2000 I realised that (sometimes) I make good art – I make stuff that changes how people see things … how they see materials, forms, and places. That in itself is enough. And it’s what I want to continue doing.

The amount of stuff that I now need to find space for at the studio in Uppsala is rather daunting … I am telling myself that it looks more than it is because it’s in packing boxes. This is true to an extent. It is also true that I have a tendency to collect and hoard … certain, but never sure exactly when, I will need to paint something that particular shade of blue again so best hang on to the spray cans from 2008 – does spray paint have a best before date, did it survive the journey to Sweden in 2011, did it survive the winter in that freezing damp half subterranean studio six years ago? I didn’t have time to test whether the paint was useable – quicker to just pack it and move it … I can test it later.

If only it were just those two cans of spray paint! It’s not! It’s all the other stuff too – the traces and remains of various processes and materials, the old artworks themselves, the tools specific to a particular installation … I can’t even remember why I needed a pair of suction handels (the kind for carrying/installing sheet glass or mirror). Will I ever make another installation that requires a small fountain? Will I ever do anything with all those 200 emergency blankets that were pegged out over Årstafältet – corners reinforced with silver gaffer tape and pierced by tent pegs.

I have promised myself to spend time in February working with this ’stuff’ … there is a further round of sorting that needs to be done and a fair amount to let go to be done. These tasks are both physical and mental – and I want to give time to doing them well. Last summer L and I were talking about personal mantras, the two that I contributed were: don’t get it right, get it done; and learn from the past, live in the present, believe in the future. It will be useful to bear these in mind when it comes to organising things in the studio. Definitely time to stop hanging on to the past, negating the present and fearing the future, and not getting done and not getting it right!

What do other artists do with the remnants of previous projects? E makes books from older or unsuccessful large drawings, K simply throws them out … didn’t Susan Hiller burn hers and then exhibit the ashes? Am I being foolish not re-using and repurposing more materials?  It would be interesting to hear from, and speak with, other artists who work with installations as well as those who make objects … to hear their thoughts and experiences.



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I am applying for a group show that two artist friends have rejected for offering too low a fee … am I doing myself a disservice? The two artists in question tend to work site-specifically and I understand that the ’exhibition fee’ offered would not cover the cost of producing new or site-specific work, however it still makes me wonder. I have not yet made the work that I would like to show there … but that is not quite the same thing as I intend to make the work in any case and am excited by the possibility of having somewhere to show it … and having a deadline is a definite incentive to get on.

Am I being too generous … too positive … naive? I still see opportunities to show in a wider context. A show/exhibition is not a hermetic thing in and of itself. So even if the financial renumeration isn’t great so long as it is in line with recommendations it is okay by me, and there are a myriad of other ’returns’ on my participation.

I have to declare something of a vested interest in this particular application/opportunity. I co-wrote the funding application on behalf of the Uppsala Artists’ Club and in collaboration with the arts officer from the local council. We based the artists’ fee on the artists’ union recommendation. There is a relatively simple matrix for calculating fees based on the number of participants in the show, the type of venue, and the duration. So it would be rather inappropriate for me to complain about the fee, and rather rude not to make a serious application … and I am genuinely interested in exhibiting there!

There is no guarantee that I will be selected – but I will be genuinely pleased if I am. Speaking with another artist friend last week I confessed that I have an unhelpful and unpleasant tendency to diminish the status of an exhibition or institution if I become a part of it. This really is something that I have to be mindful of … and stop doing. I want to become better at recognising achievements … and maybe even celebrating them!

The works that were in the salon show have (literally) just been returned. It was great to be in that show and to have exhibited in the museum – a museum show was on my wish-list. So now I can wish for something else!




Happy birthday dear Project Me!
Happy birthday to you!

So my blog turns 16 and can now consent …
Joking a side reflecting on not just the last year but the last 16 brings up a range of thoughts and feelings. Today isn’t just an anniversary but also the last day of the show at Uppsala Art Museum – another ’coming of age’ of sorts … and a very nice ’welcome to Uppsala’.

Things are shifting … literally! This week I will move out of the studio/workshop in Enköping – there is a lot to ’shift’. It is important for me to acknowledge the mix emotions around the move, to acknowledge what can easily be an overly sentimental … and even detrimental … attachment to things that have had their time. I guess I long for eternity and feel disappointment, loss, even some kind of personal failure when things do not endure … if only I had been better then the studio in Enköping could have been better and I wouldn’t be leaving. And at the same time I recognise that I need(ed) something more in order to progress. It is rather egotistical to think I single-handedly could have … should have! … made Enköping a hub for contemporary art! I did my best, and together with Klas we established a studio where ten local artists had affordable spaces. That I now want something more does not diminish our achievement, nor should I hold myself back for the sake of an old idea of who I am and what I need.

The Enköping studio, and Glitter Ball, got me to where I am today and will always be part of my story.
Why do I feel so awkward about making progress?
Why do I feel so awkward about letting go?

Perhaps it/they have something to do with a sense of security … that weird sense of security that artists need to feel for them to be able to delve in the uncertainty that is essential to make work. An artist friend recently sent me the link to great Radio 3 Essay In the Bottom of the Well by Margaret Heffernan. In 14 minutes Heffernan says so much that resonates and re-assures, she reflects on visual, theatrical and writing practices, and presents what I interpret as an amazingly succinct case for arts funding – how else might artists (across the disciplines) have the possibility of embracing the uncertainty that is vital in the creative process – the not knowingness that is essential in the production of new knowledge.

Tomorrow I am making an application to participate in a group show at a former (seventeenth century) industrial development north of here. The application alone is exciting and challenging – making me both reflect and project … looking back at what I have done and at the same time looking forward to what I want to do. The theme for the show is ’knowledge and knowing’. At first I had difficulty thinking how my current practice relates to the theme – applicants are asked to explain the relevance of their work to the theme. Over the week and in conversations with another artist friend I came to realise that the recent shifts in my approach to making are very close to the theme. Through doing … through making … I am working out how I come to know something … how I produce knowledge … I am investigating the artist’s (this artist’s!) process as ways of knowing.



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New Year resolutions …

  1. play! … play is like joyful experimenting
  2. wonder!  … wonder is like joyful thinking
  3. bank! ’Bank’ ideas – deposit them somewhere safe and withdraw them when appropriate. Remember to pay them interest!

These resolutions are more about the attitude with which I approach things than the things themselves. I see that they are a combination of shifts and refinements – developments and evolutions rather than radical change. Over the past few months several things have happened that lead me to reconsider … re-new … my ways of being and doing: not least of course the move from Enköping to Uppsala. I knew that I needed to do it, that I needed to make a change in my environment, but I wasn’t aware of how great an impact it would make … how much energy and excitement it would generate. The residency with its specific peculiarities, challenges, and experiences – reminded me that ’simply’ being and doing are part of the process, that everything is already here … rather than lying elsewhere … and it is about letting it out … rather than searching after it. Friends have sent links to great videos and podcasts by artists and about artists that re-assure me that a certain not-knowingness is essential – is what an arts practice is – that knowing comes through doing. Chatting with other artists at the studio, especially those who are successful with project and funding applications, has given me ideas about how to value and nurture the seeds and tender young shoots of new works.

I have also resolved to apply for things – I would like to say to apply for everything but that’s not realistic and sets me up for failure. But I certainly want to apply for exhibitions, public commissions, residencies, and funding. Making a last minute application for the local council’s arts grant (which I don’t expect to receive) was a very useful exercise in itself: from wondering how I would use such an award – either £10,000 or £3,000 – to realising it’s time to update my website. Perhaps it is my renewed energy and excitement that enables me to see the positive sides of making applications – their requests for both reflection and projection: who am I and where have I been, who do I want to be and where do I want to be.

Yesterday at the studio I worked on a piece that I should have delivered a year ago. I hear myself telling friends that is it so embarrassing to be so late with a work … I think that I am telling people so that I hear myself repeating the confession – implicitly telling myself to make sure that it never happens again. At the same time making the confession … verbalising it and airing it … stops it festering in my mind. Admitting my wrong-doing and accepting the consequences is necessary and (I hope) will enable me to move on aware of, but not burdened by, what I have done. The piece in question requires labour and time, and a degree of technical skill that I strive to achieve but which often eludes me. The residency and listening to other artists makes me remember that art is its own thing – that it doesn’t have to be beautifully crafted though it can be, that it doesn’t have to be understood though it can be, that it doesn’t have to be anything other than what it is … though it can be!




The Day of Epiphany seems a good day for a little reflection as well as a little forward looking … so what did 2022 bring, what kind of a year was it?

There were quite a few clearly identifiable significant and positive events: the show at Galleri 1 (January/February), the show with Enköping’s Art Association (August/September), the Black Holes/Total Dobze residency (November), and Uppsala Art Museums Uppländska Salong (December/January 2023). In addition to these ’biggies’ were other activities and experiences which now that I come to think about it were, and are, perhaps just as significant though in other ways: being nominated and elected as chair of the Uppsala Artists’ Club, being selected as one of four mentors for students at the county’s art school, receiving a project grant from Enköping council (for the residency), on a both professional and personal note – moving to Uppsala, and of course giving notice on my studio in Enköping.

I have to acknowledge that 2022 was then a pretty significant year! Many of things that I mentioned were/are things that I had longed for and dreamed of: a solo exhibition, showing in Enköping, a residency, working with art students, being selected for a museum show. They weren’t always exactly as I had expected but that (obviously) has to do with my expectations rather than the thing itself. I generally find it tricky … uncomfortable … hard … to acknowledge my successes and/or achievements so rather than dig deep and analyse what went well – and in doing so risk picking at what could have been better – I shall leave it there and allow myself to feel a sense of well earned satisfaction. In fact and to be honest I am rather impressed that I managed to do so much while also working half-time!


And 2023 … what I am looking forward to … what do I want to do?

Being in the studio. I see now that much of last year had to do with showing, exhibiting, exposing, so it is not surprising that now I want time in the studio with materials … playing … testing … trying … investing … without expectation! I want to make the studio ready for this by both organising and clearing: shelves need to go up and scrap needs to be gotten rid of. I want to make a place were I can work well. For me this requires a certain degree of order with materials and tools as well as clean clear space in which to work.
Although it will be emotionally hard I am looking forward to leaving the studio in Enköping – I know that it is something that I need to do. I am looking forward to having one well ordered ’functioning’ studio!

Re-engaging with Following Eugène. I am excited at getting in to a research process again. I am giving myself the year for this … I have some starting points and want to let the process unfold in it’s own time and way … doing my best not to have expectations – a challenge!

Delivering a good Meetings programme at Supermarket 2023. My third (proper) year as Meetings co-ordinator and I feel as though I am finding my feet. My ambition is for a programme that generates long-term connections and networks as well as providing space for artists to learn from each other and share experiences.

Getting Glitter Ball going again. I have no idea what this means! All I can say for now is that there is something more that I want to do with the idea.

Applying for things. If I want to do things, be selected for things, then I have to apply for things. In the coming year I want to apply for lots of (as yet unspecific) things … exhibitions, commissions, residencies, projects. I want to do this with generosity, confidence, and integrity (rather than expectation, anxiety, and desperation)! I look forward to a year of learning how to apply for things by applying for things!

Being more professional. Generally being better informed about and more engaged with professional practice – taking my practice seriously without being uptight about.

Establishing myself in Uppsala. I am excited about finding my ways about the city and spending time with friends and artists here.



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